Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Cashpoint or ATM machine episode....


So I have already mentioned very briefly that I had fun and games with the ATM machine - here's the full story.

G and I left the house to walk up the street to go to the ATM machine outside the Bank of America at the top of the street. I should state that the account I was taking money from is not with the Bank of America, but an ATM is an ATM....

Anyway, we get up to the bank and there are 2 ATM's side by side. I put my card into the 1st machine. The machine sucks in my card and instead of asking me for my pin, it just displays the message:

Card retained for Security purpose

I just stood there for a few seconds in shock. This was my brand new bank card. I had used it a couple of times in stores, but this was the first time I had used it at the ATM and it had been swallowed. Worse still, I hadn't been able to withdraw the cash I needed to pay for our wedding that evening!

These are the actual ATM machines
OK get your brain into gear Lou - G and I went into the bank itself and up to the cashier. I explained what had happened and he said "don't worry, I'll open the machine and retrieve it for you - which machine was it the left or the right?" Well one thing was for sure you didn't get this in the UK, if a machine ate your card you had to wait for it to be returned to you by post - I liked this get it back straight away thing!

The cashier and a colleague went to the machine and opened it up - he came back to me and said, "are you sure it was the left machine, there is no card in there?" I replied that I was sure and he went back to check again. He returned a few minutes later - no card. He said it must have thrown it back out, it's not in the machine. I told him that it definitely hadn't given it back and sent G out to check just to be sure! Then his colleague shouted out that she had found the card - it had somehow gotten stuck between the card feed and the tub it should have dropped into to - still I had my card back, all was good! The cashier said that it was probably just a cliche in the machine, so G and I went back outside and decided to try the other machine instead....

I put my card in and instead of asking for my pin I got:

Card retained for Security purpose

This time I laughed straight away "OMG this was just crazy"
G and I went back into the branch and up to the same cashier "The other machine has eaten it this time"
The cashier laughed and called to his college again and told her they needed to open up the other machine this time - same card!

I got the card back and G and I decided that it would be a good idea to walk into the town to try the only other ATM which was at the Bank of the West - again no account with this bank but an ATM is and ATM and I still needed to get the money to pay for the wedding!

So off we went - it didn't take us long to walk to the other bank, maybe 5 minutes. This one had got to work! I put my card into the machine:

Card retained for Security purpose

I couldn't believe it - to put it bluntly this was taking the p*ss!
This is the actual ATM as well
What on earth was going on with my card - this was a new card, it had worked fine in the stores when I had swiped it.
Oh well, off we went into the branch to retrieve it!
The Bank of the West isn't as accommodating as the Bank of America - they only open their ATM machine once a day, after 4.30pm. I was told I needed to come back after 4.30pm or the next morning, and I needed to bring photo I.D with me  - something else the Bank of America didn't ask for which is a bit naughty really - they should ask for I.D....

G and I had no choice but to leave the bank without my card and without the cash I needed. I had been in a pretty happy and hyped up mood, but by this point my mood had changed and I said to G "Do you think the matrix is trying to tell me something?" G laughed and and said "No Mum, I think the machine ate your card!" The walk back to the house was pretty solemn as I tried to convince myself that this wasn't something major and it was just my card with a problem!

Back at the house S asked me what was wrong and when I told him he laughed "Don't worry" he said "I'll go and get the cash out. It's not a glitch in the matrix, there's something wrong with your card"

A little later on he went up to the ATM himself and drew the money out without a problem - phew it was my card after

As you know the wedding went off without a hitch and I have now joined my friend Maggie as a fellow Mrs B. However my story doesn't end there.....

On Saturday, just before lunch I walked up with H to the Bank of the West to get my bank card back. I went up to the cashier (a different one from the day before, explained what had happened and what I had been told to do. She asked me for my I.D, so I handed over my driving licence, she checked with me that the name on the licence was the same as on my card and went off to get the card for me....

A few minutes later she came back to me and said that my card wasn't there. The cards had been removed from the machine and placed in a secure box. There was only one card in the box and it wasn't mine. She said "you need to come back on Monday after the machine has been emptied again". I told her that the card had been lost the previous day at around lunchtime, it must have been taken out already and I asked her to check again. She went and got her manager and explained what I had said - I described the bank card to them both, and the manager told the cashier to go and look again and to also look in some other place where it may have been put. H and I were asked to have a seat while they investigated....

About 10 minutes later the cashier returned and called over the manager. The manager told her she needed to print out some form or other and fill it in and get me to sign it! I couldn't see what was going on and I thought to myself "they've lost my bank card"...H and I waited some more and eventually the cashier called me back up to the counter. "Here is your card" she said "It has been put into a different box which is why I couldn't find it - can you sign here please and then you can take it". Needless to say, I signed the form, took my card and we left.

The whole thing had been a bit of a fiasco, and I was worried about using my card anywhere, so I on Sunday I phoned the bank and asked them to check the card. The lady I spoke with, said there shouldn't be an issue with my using ATM machines as the card was activated for them. I took the lady's word on it and on Monday went back to the ATM at the bank of America to try it out - I needed to pay for a smog test on my car and thought I'll try the ATM and then pay for the test with cash. I put my card into the 1st machine and:

Card retained for Security purpose

OMG - not again!
I went into the bank itself - the cashier saw me walk in and said "not again?" I just nodded and said "left machine again". Thankfully they retrieved the card quickly for me. I explained that I had rung my bank and they had said the card was fine. The cashier suggested that the strip on the card was probably fine but that there was probably a fault with the actual plastic of the card, as it was not dropping into the security box of the ATM as it should do, maybe it was too thick or something!

So yesterday, I needed to go to my own bank to organise getting my name changed on our joint account (cos now I'm Mrs B don't you know?). I pulled up at the branch and I thought "I'll just try it here in the branch ATM, and guess what?


Lesson learned - only use my cashpoint card in ATM's of my own

And that is the end of the cashpoint/ATM saga

Hope you weren't too bored

Lou :-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mrs B at last....

Hey all....
This is my first post as Mrs B....
Thats right folks my wonderful S finally made an honest woman of me, so to speak....

It was all a bit of a rush to be honest, well lets be honest the whole of last week seemed to pass in a but of a rush. For the boys and I it was our first Thanksgiving, I finally met the last of the B boys (the only one of S's brothers I hadn't met previously, and the one he is closest to), and then on Friday we got married!!!

As I said the wedding came as a bit of a surprise to us all. I had gone online to order our marriage licence and was discussing the whole wedding thing with S. We had decided that it would be really cool and low key if we could get married at home and joked about getting married in the back yard with a BBQ afterwards, so S said why don't we find out if we could do that....This was Wednesday afternoon!

So I got onto the net and starting searching to see if it could be possible for us to get married at home. It had to be - I mean this is LA after all, isn't anything possible in LA?

I found the website of a guy called "Officiant Guy" who said he could conduct marriages anywhere, so I sent an email just to find out how much it would cost for us to get married should we employ his services, and as S would say, "just for kicks and giggles" asked if there was any chance that we could get married on Friday, since S's brother would be with us and also because it was kind of an anniversary date for us as Friday would be the 25th and S and I had first physically met on the 25th of the month....

I didn't really think much of it and sent off the email and then carried on doing stuff around the house getting ready for Thankgiving the next day. A couple of hours later, I checked back on my email and was surprised to see that I had already received a reply from the "Officiant Guy" and was even more surprised when he said that he would happily marry us on Friday evening and enclosed details of his charges....

I was instantly hyped and excited, but knew that I had to speak to S about it before I could go ahead and say yes! I went through to tell him that I had received a reply and told him what the costs would be, but didn't mention that I had asked about Friday and it was possible. S said he thought the costs were a bit high and we should shop around a bit for a better deal - typical man!!!

I felt deflated and decided not to tell him that it would mean we could get married on Friday, and just kept quiet. S being S and actually being as wonderful as I say he is, quickly realised that there was something not quite right and pulled me to one side to find out what the issue was. I said I was upset about his comment on the wedding costs and he explained that maybe he had been a little abrupt about it, but it seemed like a lot of money to him to which I replied "..what to get married at home in our own back yard, on Friday while your brother is still here with us?...."

S got this huge grin on his face and replied " never told me that bit - of course we can get married on Friday.!...go and email back and say yes and get it sorted..." Needless to say I was over the moon. S's brother, K, asked what was going on and S told him we were getting married, and everything just went on from there....

By this time it was about 5pm local time and I emailed Chris, the wedding guy back to say thank you and yes we would love to go ahead and get married on Friday. By the time we had swapped a few email and made all the arrangements it was probably 6pm and I had family I needed to inform. Most of my family are still in the UK of course, my beautiful A, my parents and my youngest sister and it was far too late to start calling the UK, so I phoned my sister C, who lives near Boston here in the US....

C was shocked but pleased for us and I was feeling more and more excited.....I was going to get married to my wonderful S in 48hrs. After all the months of waiting to be together again now we were finally going to be Mr & Mrs as well - Woot! Once I got off the phone to my sis, I emailed my parents and my sister to tell them the news and said that I would speak to them the next day. I decided against emailing my beautiful A, preferring to deliver the news to her directly on skype, and that was Wednesday....

Thanksgiving passed in a bit of a whirl to be honest - I was expecting it to be full of hyp and be like Christmas Day in the UK, but it was a low and slow day, and most of the day was spent in the kitchen cooking my monstrous turkey and all the bits to go with it. Of course I spoke to my parents about the wedding and they were just a teeny little bit shocked (hugely really), I spoke to my beautiful A and told her the news, she was shocked a the short notice but wasn't surprised that we had organised it so quickly. A and I had talked about it previously, because I had originally wanted to wait until she was able to come over and visit so she could be here, but as she won't be able to come out and see us until after Chrsitmas we both knew that was going to be possible....

When we finally sat down to eat at around 5pm ish, everyone ate far too much and just wanted to sleep afterwards (very much like I expect on Christmas Day). We got the dishes cleared and then S, the boys and I went for a walk around the block to burn off some of the dinner while S's brother took an after dinner nap! Then later on we all sat down together and watched a film on the TV before heading off to bed, and that was Thursday....

To be honest I can't really remember much of Friday morning. S got the boys to sweep and hose down the back porch and set about figuring out how to make the most of the area for the wedding. He then went off with G and came back with a monstrously huge patio heater, so no-one would be cold later on during the ceremony. The one thing that did happen that was funny but not funny at the same time was my fiasco over getting cash out of the bank to pay for the wedding....but that's another story and not for this post!

Anyway to cut what could be a very long story short, at 6.15pm the "Officiant Guy", Chris Robinson arrived, and S and I got married - at home, in the back yard wearing jeans - just what we both wanted. I could go into the in and outs of the service but the important thing is we got married - S fluffed his words and I corrected him which was funny, but I am sure that you guys would much rather just see the photo's.

After the ceremony, we didn't do the BBQ thing as we had originally planned, my new brother-in-law K took us all out to "Ruth's Chris" Steak House for a wonderful meal and then we came back home for a few drinks and a relax in the back yard....It was a great end to a fantastic day, and I got to be Mrs B as well.

Enjoy the photos

Lou :-)

Just before the ceremony begins

The ceremony starts under the watchful eye of G and K with H behind the camera

S fluffed his words much to my

G isn't too sure what to do with the rings!

Almost there...

Getting H in on the photos after the ceremony

Can't have a wedding without Champagne!

Me - Mrs B!

The "Officiant Guy" - Chris Robinson. Somewhat of a celebrity Officiant it would seem

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Today I went to the doctor and got a prescription for my migraine meds....

I take my migraine stuff for granted, and in the past have happily joined in with others when I have heard them moaning about the costs of prescriptions. In the UK I believe that the cost per item on a prescription is £7.40 a the moment, so every time I would get my migraine script the 12 tablets I was allowed would cost £7.40, and I would moan "all that money for only 12 tablets".

Today I went to the chemist to collect my medication for the first time since arriving.The doctor had asked me in her surgery if I knew how many tablets were covered by my insurance, I had no clue, so she made the script out for 12 tablets (my norm).

My wonderful S was with me and what a relief that he was. We went to the pharmacy on the way home and I handed over my script and insurance card. The pharmacist took them both and said it would be a few minutes while they entered my information onto their system and checked to see what was covered by my insurance. We stood and waited patiently and S said that it would only take this long this first time, because from this point on they would have my info on their computer system. The pharmacist said that there was a problem and the system was saying that my insurance had been cancelled. S asked them how much the medication would be without the insurance - had there been a hole in the floor I would have fallen straight through it! For the 12 tablets on the script the actual cost was just over $300 - yes you read that right - $300!!!! 

Thankfully S is as wonderful as I make him out to be and got straight on the phone and got the problem sorted out. Seems that it is fairly common for them to actually cancel a policy when they are meant to be adding someone onto it - strange I know but there you go!

Once the problem got sorted out, we only had to pay the $35 one off co-pay, and I get 12 refills on my prescription for that.

The upshot of all this is that never again will I moan about how much a prescription in the UK costs or about how much the co-pay or our insurance is here in the US, because compared to paying the full price - these drugs are really cheap! and without my migraine meds my life would be very very different

I think I will be in shock over this for quite a while to come....

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Friday....

Hey Guys it's Friday....
That means that my wonderful, stupendous S will be home later tonight....Yay!
He has only been away for 2 nights, but I have hated him not being around....still he has only been 370 odd miles away instead of 6,700 which is a major accomplishment for us - doesn't mean I have to like it though!

So over the last couple of days I have done something I have not done for a very very long time and I have pampered myself just a little.
Nothing too extravagant - just a manicure yesterday by Shelley at The Soft Touch Nail Salon in Sierra Madre, and a haircut today by the lovely Suzi at The Hair Upstairs also in Sierra Madre.

The whole experience has left me feeling quite relaxed and almost serene - well as serene as you can get with a 12 and 13 year old that bicker continually! You get the picture. I resisted the urge to go acrylic with the nails and instead took the advice that was given and just had my own nails reshaped and then a shellac polish. The Shellac polish is an absolute dream - well it will be if it does as it says on the tin! Apparently it doesn't chip or peel or lose shine or anything for a full 2 weeks. It is meant to combine the ease of nail polish with the attributes of a gel nail - and basically make my nails much harder than they are normally. So far they are looking good and I have given them a bit of a workout today by going crazy on house cleaning - well my brother-in-law to be arrives tomorrow and I want everywhere to be spic and span for him. Also I haven't met him before, and he and S are really close and I am so desperate for him to like me - I have no clue how a spotless house will help me achieve that, but it is just one of those things that I do! Anyway the nails have had a workout and so far there are no chips - my hands need a good moistening but that's par for the course when you are on a cleaning binge!

The experience at the hairdressers today was one I was very worried about. I have not had a proper hair cut since March, so you can imagine how desperately I needed it. Actually I was very surprised because the lovely Suzi said that I had fantastic hair - I was pretty gobsmacked - she was surprised I had only had my fringe (bangs) trimmed in the last 7 months - no split ends and no real dryness - however she did say that the SoCal heat will soon dry my hair out, so to enjoy the moisture while I had it. She advised me to stop washing my hair every day because I didn't need to and it would help. Anyway, as well as a fab haircut, taking just the right amount off and tidying me up and giving me back a bit of shape, she is also going to arrange for me to meet her Mum! OK, I know it sounds strange, but apparently her Mum knows everyone and anyone in the area and she will be a fantastic person for me to get to know because she will be able to introduce me to all sorts of wonderful local people and help me to make some new friends - I feel quite excited! I have been getting a little concerned about how I was going to get myself out there to meet people. It's a funny time of year for town social stuff, although there is a big get together in the town next Saturday which we are going to have to go to, because everyone just does! It will be a good chance for us as a family to meet other families in the area and that has got to be a good thing!

Oh well that's me for another couple of days - I guess with the arrival of my visitor tomorrow, it may well be a few days before I am able to blog again, but hopefully I will be able to report that relations between myself and my future brother-in-law are good. He sounds like a great guy and I am really looking forward to meeting him, so fingers crossed he approves of me too.

Lou :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Aquarium of the Pacific....

Last Saturday we took the boys to the "Aquarium of the Pacific" where we had a fantastic time....
I don't post photos of my family on here very often, so enjoy....

Bubba Gumps in the distance!
Deciding what to eat

Run Henry Run....

Stop Henry Stop...

Looking at Baby Sharks still in their egg sacks

Sea Horses

Sea Nettle

Playing with a Sea Lion

Petting the Cownose Ray's - sooo cute!

Jelly Fish


Learning about Sea Otters

Giant Spider Crabs

Pretty Fish

More Pretty Fish

Whats Next?

Learning about Tsunami's

Weedy Dragon Fish - that is a type of fish!

Versatile Blogger Award....

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.....
I know a couple of Sarah's - one is one of my oldest friends and we go back to school days and I love to bits, and one is a fairly new friend, but nonetheless someone I class as a good friend....
Both are slightly crazy - in the wonderfully good way of course! but it is the later I refer to in my opening sentence! Why? do I hear you ask? Well quite simply because she has seen fit to present me with the Versatile Blogger Award! Like I said, she is one crazy lady (good job I love her to bits).

Just for the record - had I been even remotely Scottish, Dunroamin may have been a good title for my recently renamed blog!! lol....However, there is no Scottish blood in my family (yes ok so my sister lives near Glasgow - that's not quite what I meant) so Dunroamin never stood a chance. There is some Scottish heritage in my wonderful S's family on his Mum's side, but this is my blog, so that doesn't count! So Our home in the Sun it will have to stay because I am totally without inspiration - having said that "Plagued By a Raccoon" could have some promise, and it is certainly a little more catchy! Pity I can't catch the Raccoon tat is digging up my garden but hey ho!

Back to the award - Can I thank Sarah at PEOPLE DON'T EAT ENOUGH FUDGE  she is a truly wonderful lady who has found ways to bring a smile to my lips when I am down and blue and who has reduced me to tears when I am full of happiness. Her blog has invoked anger in me, when some of her readers have demonstrated narrow mindedness at some of the words she has written, and I feel that I would go to bat for her no matter what - she is my friend, and although we have never met, I value her friendship greatly! If you don't read her blog already then you are really missing out - she is a fab writer!

OK - 7 things about me that you may or may not already know:
  • My favourite foods are Lobster and Blueberries. Not together of course but definitely by the bucketful. And I can think of nothing better to wash them both down with than a wonderfully chilled bottle of Sancerre or Pouilly Fuisse. Yes you could say that I have expensive tastes, but it's not like I eat and drink this stuff every day. My wonderful S took me to London back in January, and treated me to an early supper of Lobster and Sancerre - it was an evening of complete decadence - to share the lobster and the wine was one of the most thoughtful and romantic things I can imagine, and I will treasure that evening for the rest of my life.
  • Apparently I have high blood pressure! I'm still trying to figure that one out - When I went for my Visa Medical on the 16th September my blood pressure was 160 something over 90 something, and the doc asked me to get it checked again by my own GP. High blood pressure is something unusual for me, it has always been well within the realms of normality and tended to be more towards the low than the high side. I got my own GP to test it again for me mid October. It was still 150 something over 90 something. My own GP wasn't too worried - they said I had a lot on my plate with the pressure of moving and if it remained high after the move I should worry. Last week I went for a medical with my new doctor here in the US. My blood pressure was 158/92. The doc was concerned because I have had high readings for a couple of months and wanted to put me on blood pressure meds. I managed to persuade her to give me a month to show her otherwise and to bring it down by other methods. On her advice I am taking blood pressure readings twice a day - My world is much calmer than it has been for the last few months - my highest my blood pressure has been is 120/53 - NOT HIGH AT ALL.
  • I get up 2 or 3 times in the night at the moment on Raccoon patrol. The little monster is digging up my new garden - sorry back yard (lol). He is absolutely gorgeous to look at, but I am not keen to pet him - I just want him to stop digging up my garden, sitting in my chair and screwing up my tablecloth! It's my garden and I don't want to share with anything destructive!
  • I am planning to get married - soon! I plan to get married wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and if possible it will be on top of a mountain or hill somewhere, although the back yard with the BBQ going could be an option too. So many people have said I am crazy and I should want a big frock and a fancy doo - but S and I are getting married for us - not for anyone else, why do we need to put on a show for everyone else. What matters to us is the vows we make to each other, not the show we put on for the rest of the world - As S says, our commitment to each other is unquestionable, our wedding will only serve to legalise that commitment - I don't need some huge frock or fancy venue for that - and besides, what greater venue can there be than the beautiful untouched world at the top of a mountain, or by a babbling brook?
  • I spent an hugely insane amount of money on new bedding yesterday. well hugely insane amount to me. My sis tells me that she has spent more, but it was still a lot to me. S has told the boys that he is grateful that Mum has a passion for nice bedding, as it is a hell of a lot cheaper than diamonds! I had never thought of it that way, but I guess he does have a point.
  • I am Mum to 3 beautiful, intelligent and frustratingly wonderful children. My daughter the beautiful A, is in her 3rd and final year at Warwick Uni, and makes me proud to be her Mum every single day. She frustrates the hell out of me, because in so many ways she is so very like me. She has an intelligence way above anything I could ever hope for and she never seems to have to work at it. I have no doubts that she will graduate with first class honours, and I will be the crazy idiot in the crowd who crys like a baby with pride as she walks up to get her scroll. My gorgeous G, is my  enigma. I never know quite what to make of him. Super intelligent, quiet, unassuming, pig-headed, and suddenly sprouting through adolescence. He says he wants to fly helicopters in the army. He isn't too bothered about wanting to serve his country, he really just wants to fly combat helicopters! He works hard at school, and never does anything he shouldn't (slightly disturbing). He is obsessed with paracord - completely obsessed with paracord, but then paracord is a god send to a survivalist like G. S has put him in charge of our disaster supplies - we have to have disaster supplies, we quite literally live on the crossroads of 2 fault lines in LA! Finally, there is my handsome H and if G is my enigma, H is my anomaly. Also incredibly intelligent, he has no interest in anything much and is a real flibbertigibbet, moving from one fad to the next and excelling at all of them. He works well at school, but is allergic to homework, and only in his 2nd full week at school, I have today received a phone call form his math teacher to say that his homework wasn't done last night. Turns out H forgot his math book, and so was asked to complete the work tonight instead. It took him about 2 minutes to complete - but then maths is his thing, and at the age of 7 he was able to complete 4 figure multiplications in his head in a matter of seconds and often corrected his teacher on her mistakes (embarrassing but kind of cool).
So - if anyone is still awake. Now you know some really useless stuff about me. Now the hard part - I need to nominate some fellow bloggers to pass the Versatile Blogger Award onto. Because I have allowed myself to lose touch with the blogging world of late, I will be honest and say that I am struggling to know who to give the award to. Having also received this award before (as Sarah Mac has) I want to try and pass it onto people that I haven't already passed it to - and I want to try and pass it onto people who haven't receive done already!

With this in mind, I am going to take complete liberties and only pass this award onto one person. To send it to 15 makes it less personal, and I think it will be far more of an honour to just award to one person

So -
because she writes so well and always adds in wonderful photos, and of course because she has the most gorgeous little boy, I nominate: The Tiny Team @ Tiny Green Elephants.
No matter what the subject matter this blog is another of those that has the ability to touch your heart and make you smile. I actually feel quite lucky to now be living so much closer to this wonderfully fantastic family, and think that one day, I will be walking down a street somewhere and I will happen across them and will be able to introduce myself and let them know just how much I love the blog. (yes ok so I am a little crazy - like you didn't already know that!!!)

Once again Sarah Mac - thank you for my award - I wear it with pride, and am glad to have you as my friend. I am sure that one day we will meet, either over there or over here, and I have no doubts that we will get along as well in the flesh as we do on the net.

Love & Hugs
Lou :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

American Football....

Today is not my day...this is the 2nd time I am typing this post....
I have no clue what I did, but I hit some button on my laptop and my post just vanished - even the auto save draft copy was blank - perhaps I should take this as a sign and not post today? Nah...I've never been big on doing what I should do, why start now?

So the point of today's posting - American Football
Last weekend, my wonderful S took the time to explain the rules of American football to me, and I have adopted a team, and today I will watch them play in my first full televised match. Maybe I will love it and maybe I will hate it - who knows! I find it hard to comprehend how a game that actually only lasts 1 hour can actually take several hours to play, but I will give it a go and see what happens!

Now, everyone knows that LA no longer has a football team, since the Raiders moved to Oakland, so I have had to adopt another team. My team of choice (at the moment) is the New York Jets. My main reason for choosing the Jets is because when S was explaining the game to me last weekend, it was while the Jets were playing against the Bills. Well the Jets won so they became the natural choice. Also, when the boys and I arrived in the US, our port of entry was New York, well more specifically, Newark. The Jets are a New Jersey team and apparently on our approach to Liberty International Airport, Newark, we flew over the Jets stadium. So there we have it, my somewhat misguided and undoubtedly flawed reasoning, but my reasoning nonetheless, and I am sticking to it - at least for the time being!

My sis, who lives near Boston and her husband, are both Partiots supporters, and today the Jets will play the Pats, so it is a good excuse for some jovial banter between the 2 of us! She tells me that the Jets coach is an ass with a bad attitude and I have no doubts that she is right, but for the time being I will give the ass my support, at least until I find a better ass to support or decide I don't like football and withdraw my support all together.

I may find that baseball is more my thing and lets face it, the Dodgers are a hell of a baseball team. I may decide I like basketball and once again the Lakers are a hell of a team to support. My dad says if we can get tickets to a Dodgers game we can't go until he can get here - seems like it is a bit if a dream of his perhaps! So maybe we will have to work on that one and see if we can't make it a reality!!

Anyway, for now it is The Jets and American Football. Kick off is in roughly an hour - wish me luck - it may be some time before I come out on the other side - I may have had to consume several hotdogs in the process as well, because if there is one thing I have found that the yanks can definitely get right its a hotdog!

Come on the Jets!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Adjusting to change....

It is now a little over a week since the boys and I arrived in sunny California to join my wonderful S and begin our new life in the US.

On the whole things are going really well. The boys seem to be at home in the house, and after 2 full days at their new school, there have been no dramas which is a bit of a relief. I was thinking that the whole US school experience may be just a step too strange for the boys after only being here for a week but they are loving it so far, and even handsome H, my youngest who is allergic to school, sat last night and did roughly 2 hours of unassigned Spanish in a bid to catch up a little with his classmates. The gorgeous G has been invited to join a group of kids who are going to Starbucks after school tomorrow, and then school is closed on Friday for Veterans Day -end of week 1.

I am somewhat frustrated at having not a lot to do, but there is not much that we can do about that until I get my Green Card through and I can go out and find myself a job. Until then I guess I will just have find ways to busy myself about the house and in the town. I will go for long walks while the weather is still good, and hopefully by the time it turns we will have married and my Green Card will be in the post!

On the whole I was expecting the change to take much more a toll on the boys in particular, and I am amazed at their resilience. I am also extremely proud of them and their attitude to the move. This is completely new to them and they have put a huge amount of trust in both myself and my wonderful S to make decisions that are right for us all. They are taking that change in their stride and it is almost like they have been here for a lot longer than a little more than a week.

The only thing that is causing me a problem as such is that I seem to be completely out of sync with the beautiful A, my daughter. Don't get me wrong, we didn't speak every day before I made the move, but it just seems like we haven't spoken since the move. I was hoping to skype her, and the boys were hoping to skype her and it just doesn't seem to have happened. But I guess this is all strange to her too. I know that she is OK because I have spoken with my parents and my youngest sister who are all in the UK, but I am hoping to touch base with A in the next few days. She may be all grown up now at 21, but she is still my baby and I miss her....

Anyway, no doubt our new life will continue to evolve - I don't suppose for one minute that we are past the point of trauma and upset - it will be a true miracle if we are...

Lou :-)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Bigger and Better in the US?.....

You know how people always say that everything is meant to be bigger and better in the good ol' US of A? Well this morning the boys and I found out that in some respects it most certainly is....

The gorgeous G has a passion for fishing and my wonderful S had promised that he would take him to Bass Pro, a big outdoor pursuits shop over here - today was the day! The shop is in a place called Rancho Cucamonga which is about 20 - 25 miles east of where we live. Handsome H was not happy about being dragged away from the XBox to go and see it - that is until we got there....

To start with I thought it was actually lots of shops all stuck together, like a kind of strip mall, but no, it was all one hugely enormous shop. I have never seen anything quite like it. It was almost like Debenham's, but just for Camping, Shooting, Fishing and Sailing stuff! The boys were also in complete awe and disbelief and didn't know whether to be excited or scared.

To start off with we walked around all the fishing gear - I never seen so much in one place. There was stuff for sea-fishing as well as river and lake fishing. There was stuff to catch every type of fish you can think of, and I even saw stuff used to catch squid! There was a separate section that was dedicated to fly-fishing where you could buy rods, reels, pre-made flies or all the gear you needed to make your own. After all the actual fishing gear there was clothing for fishing. Then there was just outdoor clothing, a restaurant. Then there was hunting gear, bows, rifles, shotguns, knives etc. Camping gear including tents. There was a shooting range, an area for shooting clothing - it just went on and on and on. We had lunch in the restaurant which had a huge marine fish tank in the centre and when I say huge I mean roughly 20ft by 15ft!!! It seemed to take us forever to walk all the way around but at the same time I was amazed at how early it still was when we came out. S and I have said we will go back again without the boys to do some Christmas Shopping in the next few weeks.

Here are a few online pics I found of the store itself so you can get an idea of just how amazing it was.

The front entrance

Ground Level

A gun lovers dream

Looking down on part of the ground floor from the 1st floor

Huge marine tank in the restaurant

Friday, November 04, 2011

Our home in the Sun....

Well hows that for being down right typical?

I come up with a new name for my blog, and OK it isn't mind blowingly wonderful but it fits the bill, and guess what....the number of views of my blog go from nearly 200 a day to a big fat 0 today!

The website addy is still the same - it's only the blog name that has changed folks....

Ho hum

It seems quite strange - I am sitting here in the living room on my laptop, with the TV on in the background. I can hear my wonderful S and both of the boys in the middle room, playing golf on the XBox. It's wonderful to hear - proper family noises that 6 months ago seemed so so far away! Dinner is cooking away in the kitchen, the fire is roaring here in the living room (doesn't throw out any heat, but looks good) and everything is right in the world - at last!

Anyone who doubted decisions that were made - stop worrying! Life is good, the decisions that were made were the best ones and the right ones.

Lou :-)


Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Well folks, it took us a little time, but for the last 2 days I have woken up next to my wonderful S and life is indeed truly wonderful!

I did think for a moment on Monday that we might not get here. The nasty weather that hit the North East coast of the US meant that our flight from Manchester to Newark was delayed by 2 hours. Add onto that the fact that it took us 2 hours to clear US Immigration, and then our connecting flight was at 5.45pm instead of the original 1.10pm and you can see that our long day turned into a ridiculously long day and we finally arrived at our new home in North East LA at around 10pm local time. We were all shattered, but adrenaline kept us going and we managed a quick bite to eat and a shower before succumbing to sleep!

Yesterday was our first proper day and we took a drive up to the summit of Mount Wilson (the mountain that overshadows our home), some 6,000 ft above us. I hadn't realized that there was an observatory up there, but not just any observatory. This is the place that was home to the 100inch telescope which until 1947 was the largest telescope in the world. It was a fascinating place, and the surrounding scenery was absolutely stunning. It is hard to believe that we are actually living in this fantastic place and not just visiting for a holiday.

Today, I got to drive - hmmm what can I say about that. It is certainly a little daunting, but I didn't crash which was good. No-one beeped their horns at me either which was even better! I am sure that my confidence will grow given a little more time - it just seems so alien to not only be driving on the opposite side of the road, but to also be sitting on the opposite side of the car and to have the gear stick on the opposite side too. Tomorrow I will go out in the truck instead of the car - I think that will prove a little easier for me to get used to as it is automatic and just a teeny bit bigger than the

I guess that I also need to think about a new name for my blog - Can't really stay as 'Waiting to Emigrate' when I have now moved - so any suggestions will be gratefully received.

OK off to enjoy the sunshine in the back yard - it's a mere 79F this afternoon - not bad for the 2nd November!

x :-)